Recreation


Area Status: Open
  • Rules for Visitors - ensure your health and safety, protect the forest, & keep recreation an enjoyable experience for everyone
  • Visit Us! Visitor information for all national forests.

Interactive Forest Visitor Map

Use the Interactive Forest Visitor Map to locate roads, campgrounds, trails and other recreation sites on the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests. You can zoom in for high resolution detail and change the background map to suit your needs. Using the Tools icon, you can print your map or save it as a Geo PDF map. You can also import your Geo PDF to your phone or tablet using a program like Avenza to show your live location on the map - even without a cell signal! Download mobile apps: Apple App or Google Play

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OHV State Vicinity Map Beasley Knob OHV Trail Map Beasley Knob OHV Vicinity Map Davenport Mountain OHV Trail Map Davenport Mountain OHV Vicinity Map

At a Glance

Passes: Recreation Passes & Permits - When you are ready to recreate on your national forests and grasslands, determine if your plans require a recreation fee and what types of passes are available. Many recreation sites and activities on the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests do not require a fee at all. No matter where you are going on federal public lands, take advantage of the type of pass that will work best for you.

General Information

General Notes:

See also: Guide to Firearms Use on the Chattahoochee and Oconee National Forests

See more Frequently Asked Questions and Answers about Hunting and Fishing


Activities

Campground Camping

The Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests provide campground camping in many different locations across Georgia. Some campgrounds are more developed than others so please browse our recreational areas to find what suits you best. 

More highly developed sites may also include showers, electricity, flush toilets, sewer, and water. Reservations may be required in some campgrounds. Reservations can be made online or call 1-877-444-6777 (toll free).Link to Recreation.com for easy reservations by the public.

 

Developed camping—Developed campgrounds provide a safe, monitored area for recreating among other users.  Please follow these basic rules:

  • camping in a developed campground shall be limited to a period of not to exceed 14 days
  • a new campsite may not be re-established within 1 mile of the vacated campsite for a period of 7 days
  • at least one person must occupy a camping area during the first night after camping equipment has been set up, unless permission has otherwise been granted by the Forest Ranger
  • entering  or remaining in a campground between the hours of 10pm and 6am is prohibited except for the persons already occupying the campsite
  • a site shall not be occupied by a group of more than five people (no more than 10 for double sites) or those other than immediate family
  • group sites are also available for larger parties as posted
  • parking or leaving a vehicle in violation of posted signs is prohibited
  • do not leave more than two motorized vehicles (i.e. passenger vehicles and motor homes) per single campsite
  • no public nudity
  • no possessing or operating a motorboat powered by internal combustion engines on lakes where prohibited
  • no launching, storing or leaving a boat or raft on or near lakes where it is posted as prohibited
  • no operating motorboats in designated swimming areas
  • no food or drink on developed beach areas
  • no swimming in areas where it is prohibited
Reservation info: Some camping facilities do take reservations. You can make reservations online at Recreation.gov and searching for the type of site you want in Georgia.

Areas for Campground Camping at Recreation - Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest

RV Camping

Our forest offers many developed campgrounds suitable for campers and RV's with water and electric hookup. Dump stations are available at Lake Sinclair, Lake Rabun and Lake Russell.

Please call District office for details on number and size of campsites.

More highly developed sites may also include showers, electricity, flush toilets, sewer, and water. Reservations may be required in some campgrounds. Reservations can be made online or call 1-877-444-6777 (toll free).Link to Recreation.com for easy reservations by the public.

Areas for RV Camping at Recreation - Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest

Group Camping

Have friends and family who like to camp too?  Looking for a place to have that family reunion or special occasion?  

A single campsite shall not be occupied by groups of more than five people, or by those other than immediate family. For example, a group of up to 5 friends can use one, single campsite. A family with more than 5 people can use one, single campsite. In all cases, whether friends or family, no more than 2 vehicles can park at a single site and all tents must be pitched on the designated tent pad. Double sites shall not be occupied by more than ten people, or immediate family. Group sites vary according to the size and location of the specific campground. 

If you have any questions about campsite limitations or just need more information, please call the appropriate Forest Service District Office well in advance of your visit.

More highly developed sites may also include showers, electricity, flush toilets, sewer, and water. Reservations may be required in some campgrounds. Reservations can be made online or call 1-877-444-6777 (toll free).Link to Recreation.com for easy reservations by the public.

Areas for Group Camping at Recreation - Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest

Dispersed Camping

Dispersed (primitive) camping—Dispersed camping is available in multiple locations throughout the forest, and is intended to provide a rustic, less manicured and natural experience.  Whether you decide to camp within a Congressionally-designated Wilderness or the general forest area, we ask that you follow the principles of Leave No Trace.  By leaving no trace you are reducing your impact to the natural environment and preserving the quality of experience for future visitors.  Basic Leave No Trace principles include the following:

  • Secure all food and keep safe from bears.
  • Do not feed wild animals.
  • Do not leave campfires unattended.
  • Be sure to completely put out any campfire before leaving your site unattended.

Please click here to view details of all Leave No Trace principles and suggestions for safety when camping.

In addition to these general rules, Regional Foresters and Forest Supervisors may issue orders which close or restrict use of certain areas when the need arises.  The purpose of these types of closures would be to protect human life and to prevent damage to natural resources.  Copies of these orders can be found in any Forest Service office.  Many times they are posted on the information board at a recreation site, as well.

 

Status: Open

Areas for Dispersed Camping at Recreation - Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest

Cabin Rentals

Are your friends or family itching to get back to nature and spend some quality time in the forest, but lack the right location and refuge?  Gorgeous Lake Winfield Scott has just the thing you seek: cabin camping!

Reservations may be required in some campgrounds. Reservations can be made online or call 1-877-444-6777 (toll free).Link to Recreation.com for easy reservations by the public.

Areas for Cabin Rentals at Recreation - Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest

Lake and Pond Fishing

Youth tries fishing on Lake Winfield Scott

 

 

Serene open waters, surrounded by lush forest or panoramic views of the rolling North Georgia mountains sound like your idea of the perfect fishing spot?

In addition to our own lakes, there are many bodies of water adjoining the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest available for fishing.  Although the National Forest does not own these lakes, we do provide access and even manage boat ramps and docks associated with some of them.  Just click on the name of the lake for updated and detailed information on each specific body of water.

Bluegill at LakeRussell photo by Jeff Durniak, GA DNR

Areas for Lake and Pond Fishing at Recreation - Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest

River and Stream Fishing

170602-FS-Chattahoochee-SB_5251

Below is a list of developed recreation areas along streams and rivers with easy access where you can fish. There are too many other streams and rivers to list here that do not have a developed recreation area on them. Many are in the back country, away from roads and trails - see Georgia DNR's Trout Stream Interactive Map. These back country fishing opportunities may be more challenging to reach but they offer a more secluded setting and remote experience.

New to fishing? Check out numerous volunteer partner groups who can teach you!

Groups like Georgia Trout Unlimited and it's local chapters help improve fish habitat on the national forest, as well as provide conservation education while teaching kids and adults to fish, sponsor kid and senior fishing rodeo events, or perform a host of other valuable services. Find volunteer groups on the web or on social media.

*NEW Georeferenced Fishing Maps available for download*

As a benefit to fishermen/women, a series of new maps are now available that depict trout streams on the forest, which are managed and stocked with trout. The maps stocked streams, delayed harvest streams, and other State fishing regulations.

Besides trout streams, these six large color maps display roads, seasonal road closures, trails, wilderness areas and recreation sites. These maps are being made available for the use and enjoyment of visitors to the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests, but are not intended for official use or enforcement of federal regulations. Data shown on these maps are for reference only. The U.S. Forest Service strives to obtain accurate and precise data, however, there are likely some errors in these data.

All of these files require Adobe Reader or the Avenza mobile application for viewing. These maps are georeferenced for user convenience when using mobile applications, however printed copies are not available.

Areas for River and Stream Fishing at Recreation - Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest

Day Hiking

Day hiking on BHR connector trailWhether looking for a more challenging day hike or an easy to moderate one, our forest has something for all ages and experience levels. Download a Trail brochure for a description of many trails.

Areas for Day Hiking at Recreation - Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest

Backpacking

Landing photo for Hiking page. A group of friends set off for a backpacking trip into the forest.Our forest offers many long distance hiking trails such as the Benton MacKaye Trail in Georgia, the Bartram Trail, the Pinhoti Trail and the Duncan Ridge Trail. In addition, the premier backpacking trail in the eastern United States begins right here in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest on Springer Mountain.  The Appalachian Trail in Georgia offers a restorative and unique experience for those who are fortunate enough to belong to that special club of people who through-hike all 2,178 miles of the AT or those who are out for a good 2 or 3-day backpacking trip.

Areas for Backpacking at Recreation - Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest

Viewing Wildlife

Deer rest in field. A mother deer is seen cleaning her fawn while they take refuge in a grassy field. The Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest is laden with a diverse range of wildlife.  From black bears to wild turkey, our forest is a great place to catch a glimpse of the creatures who reside in our forests. Learn more how the Forest Service manages the landscape to benefit wildlife under Resource Management.

Areas for Viewing Wildlife at Recreation - Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest

Viewing Scenery

Viewing Scenery landing photo. The stunning upper falls of the Helton Creek Campground. The mountains of the Chattahoochee National Forest and the rolling hills of the Oconee National Forest provide some of Georgia's best scenery.  See some of our best spots...

Areas for Viewing Scenery at Recreation - Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest

OHV Trail Riding

Off-road riding can be great fun.Check out a list of motorized trails below for information. Each trail system page has a link to a map of the trails in its area. Motorized trails close when conditions are wet to prevent trail damage and erosion into streams. Check the status of your favorite trail or Call Before You Haul. In the Chattahoochee and Oconee National Forests, you can only ride on trails designated for the purpose of off-road riding.

Fee Station at Forest Service Recreation site

Where You Can Ride OHVs and ATVs

The Chattahoochee and Oconee National Forest is closed to off road vehicle use except on designated trails. Some trails are seasonally or intermittently closed to allow recovery from overuse. Sometimes trails are closed to protect them from damage when they are too wet or the effects of freezing and thawing soften the trail tread.

Find Google Map of all OHV trails, or click this State map showing the locations of OHV Trail system. Click a trail icon on the map below for details about the trail system.

A clickable Georgia state map showing the location of OHV trail system in the Chattahoochee and Oconee National Forests.Houston Valley Rocky Flats Windy Gap, Milma Creek, and Tibbs Rock Creek and Tatum Lead Davenport Mountain Whissenhunt Beasley Knob Oakey Mountain and Moates Knob Locust Stake Town Creek

General Info:

Photos & MultimediaPhotos & Multimedia
Reservation required?: Y
Permit required?: Y

Areas for OHV Trail Riding at Recreation - Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest

Geocaching & Letterboxing

Introduction

Geocaching is an outdoor activity in which the participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers (called "geocaches" or "caches") anywhere in the world. A typical cache is a small waterproof container (usually a tupperware container or ammo box) containing a logbook. More>>>

Letterboxing is an outdoor hobby that combines elements of orienteering, art, and puzzle solving. Letterboxers hide small, weatherproof boxes in publicly-accessible places (like parks) and distribute clues to finding the box in printed catalogs, on one of several web sites, or by word of mouth. Individual letterboxes usually contain a notebook and a rubber stamp. More >>>

What You Need to Know

All the information here applies to geocaches and letterboxes. No permit is required to place a cache in the Chattahoochee or Oconee national forests. A cache may be placed anywhere except as noted below. The following guidelines will help you follow good outdoor ethics. Thanks for your help in caring for the land.

  1. Caches must be at least ½ mile apart.  This will prevent the proliferation of caches around popular sites by different people.
  2. A cache must not remain longer than one year.  A cache may be rotated to a new location, at least ½ mile distant, after 12 months.
  3. Caches need to be for public view.  No members only subscription caches allowed.
  4. Geocache containers must not be placed in Wilderness Areas, Wilderness Study Areas, Research Natural Areas, Chattooga Wild and Scenic Corridor, Hitchiti Experimental Forest, Appalachian National Scenic Trail Corridor, Rare Communities, Developed recreation Areas and Cultural/Heritage Areas.  You may use virtual caches in these areas.
  5. To protect threatened and sensitive species and resources, caches must be at least 200 feet from water sources and should be placed in such a way that there is no ground disturbance( no burying or covering caches with soil).
  6. Caches should contain relevant Leave No Trace (LNT) or Tread lightly (TL) education materials.  Encourage participants to practice LNT or TL techniques in placing and visiting geocache sites.
  7. Do not cut vegetation to establish cache hiding spot.
  8. Caches must not contain food, hazardous materials, illegal substances or weapons.
  9. Cache containers must be no larger than one cubic foot and no smaller than a quart.  It is preferable that containers be made of clear plastic so that contents are visible.
  10. Containers must be labeled on the outside so that it would not be mistaken as containing hazardous substances.
  11. Information on how to contact the cache owner must be available either in the cache or on the originating website.

Target Shooting

Photo of the Chestnut Mountan Shooting RangeShooting ranges on the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest provide hunters and sportsmen the opportunity to hone their skills.  There are three shooting ranges on the Chattahoochee National Forest: the Chestnut Mountain, Sumac Creek, and the Darnell ranges. There is one shooting range, the Cedar Creek Range, on the Oconee National Forest. The Trembling Bridge Range is closed indefinitely with no plans to reopen in the immediate future.

Target shooting is allowed on National Forests or Grasslands unless restricted. Check your local ranger district for more information about local restriction. It is prohibited to shoot:    

  • In or within 150 yards from a residence, building, campsite, developed recreation area or occupied area.
  • Across or on a national forest or grassland road or body of water.
  • In any manner or place where any person or property is exposed to injury or damage as a result of such discharge.
  • Into or within a cave.
  • Firing tracer bullets or incendiary ammunition.
  • Disturbing, injuring, destroying, or in any way damaging any prehistoric, historic, or archaeological resource, structure, site, artifact, property.
  • Abandoning any personal property or failing to dispose of all garbage, including targets, paper, cans, bottles, appliances.

In general, you should target shoot only if you:

  • Use approved targets. Certain forests may have specific restrictions, such as the type of targets used (i.e. cardboard targets, paper targets, clay pigeons).
    • Exploding targets are not recommended and are restricted on many forests or grasslands for safety and fire concerns.
  • Use approved targets along with a safe, ”bullet-proof” backstop. Do not to attach your targets to vegetation or structures, such as; trees, log decks, slash piles, fences, or water tanks.
  • Practice safe gun handling by:
    • Treating every gun as if it is loaded.
    • Never letting the muzzle of a firearm point at anything you do not intend to shoot.
    • Keeping your finger off of the trigger until your sights are on the target and you are ready to shoot.
    • Making sure of your target and what is beyond.
  • Are not in possession of alcoholic beverages while discharging a firearm.

See our "Guide to Firearms Use" section for more firearm safety reminders. Remember, you are responsible for your own safety and for the safety of those around you.

Areas for Target Shooting at Recreation - Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest

Interpretive Areas

There are several areas in the Chattahoochee National Forest that offer the chance to learn some pretty interesting things. For example, at Track Rock Gap, you can find out who made those carvings in the rocks. At Anna Ruby Falls, learn the natural vegetation and where all that water comes from. Finally, on the highest mountain in Georgia, you can learn about the geology, history, culture, and natural environments of north Georgia.

Areas for Interpretive Areas at Recreation - Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest

Visitor Centers

Areas for Visitor Centers at Recreation - Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest

Boating - Motorized

Areas for Boating - Motorized at Recreation - Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest

Boating - Non-Motorized

lakewinfieldscott

Non-motorized boating on the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest is not restricted to any specific area, however, it is important to know that according to state law, fishing, camping and entering onto private land is illegal without landowner permission, as is fishing from the river in a boat, tube, or any other floating device where both sides of the river are privately owned.

The Chattooga Wild and Scenic River is most popular for guided rafting trips. This premier whitewater river offers some of the most challenging rapids in the Southeast. The Chattahoochee and Toccoa rivers are popular for canoe or kayak. Unlike most Georgia rivers, the Toccoa flows north instead of south, and is considered to be the state's loveliest river.

On the Oconee National Forest, Lake Sinclair is a popular lake for swimming, fishing, and boating. The Oconee River is an excellent canoeing river, with the Oconee River Campground the favorite launching point.

Areas for Boating - Non-Motorized at Recreation - Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest

Swimming

Areas for Swimming at Recreation - Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest

Waterskiing

Areas for Waterskiing at Recreation - Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest